Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Our nutty email stopped working recently. Internet connection was fine, but no mail would go out or come in. Then I started getting phone messages that emails were coming back as undeliverable, and people were hot on my heels for our "new" address. Brad reached a heavily accented customer service agent last night, only to find out that our email account had been suspended due to an extremely high volume of emails being sent. Huh? I instantly got hot-cheeked and tried to think back on the last week. Had I been sleep walking and mailing out dozens of emails?? Then as I listened to more of Brad's end of the conversation, he asked how many emails it would take to have our account suspended. There was a pause, followed by wide eyes and the disbelieving question, "THOUSANDS??" Pause. "Thousands per day?" Brad looked at me, not accusingly, but with a very concerned look. I shook my head no before he could form any thoughts of me sitting here for hours while I sent out forward after forward of crazy You Tube videos. He was given another number to call. That call resulted in a one-hour hold time, only to be connected to another heavily-accented customer service agent. This new agent told us our account had been hacked into and was being used to send out "extremely high volumes of spam". After complaints came in about "us", they suspended our account. Three new passwords later, we are back in action. Imagine what great things those hackers could accomplish if they'd use their brains and time for good! It sure wasted an evening for Brad.
And I am slowly adapting to lugging this dumb boot around. The foot is quite sore. My hip and back are very sore from having my legs be different lengths. I did wear a heeled-boot on my other foot today, and it helped a lot. My most fashion-forward friend just sent me a message saying I looked "smooth" in my boot today. Well, I'll be. Smooth, huh?! Perhaps this boot is not so bad afterall. If that's what one has to do to look smooth, I guess one best close her mouth and continue gimping around.
The other unexpected consequence of this boot? Me thinks me stink. Apparently my feet sweat a bit at night in this boot under the covers. Ick. It takes me back to my youth, where a smell oozed under the door of my brothers' bedroom that I haven't smelled since. I feel quite embarrassed that it's now me. Yes, I wash my feet daily. Now twice daily. Yes, I change my socks. And my sheets. So yesterday I started spraying my boot with Lysol when I take it off to take a shower. Shower for me, Lysol for the boot. It was the only thing I could find that was good for soft surfaces and wasn't targeting athlete's foot. Me thinks the stink is gone.
And I've somewhat enjoyed my "bike rides" at the gym. It's not quite the same, but I'm thankful to get my heart pumping. It is a little cruel that the treadmills are right behind the bikes. I could hear the rhythmic "thump, thump, thump" of people running behind me. That's like passing a plate of straight-from-the-oven, gooey chocolate chip cookies under my nose and saying, "Just a smell. That's all for you!" Stinky toes I can pass on, but warm cookies? Who can pass on that?? So I just pedaled faster, turned up my I-pod, and worked hard to not let myself sing out loud.
And the people-watching at the gym?? Amazing! Bless them. One elderly man had his finest blue jeans on, a tucked-in shirt, and brown leather dress shoes. He sat himself on a bike and pp-e-dddd-aaaaa-lllll-ed. Then his left foot took a turn. But he was moving. Bless him. All shapes, sizes, and abilities were represented in that cardio room. There's always the gals that climb aboard a bike that you sit back in and pull out their romance novel to read while they leisurely bike at a snail's pace. And the buff, crazy-bodied people who run like someone's chasing them, then go hop on a spin bike and work even harder. There's a reason they look like they do. And the jocks that strut around the weight sets, admiring themselves in the mirror as they lift crazy amounts of weight. Great people watching. I highly recommend it. It ranks right up there with airports.
If you have made it to the end of this, bless your heart. That there is some serious rambling going on.
One more ramble? I just pulled a cake experiment out of the oven. If it is a success with the family tonight I will share it with you on Monday! It's a sort of accumulation of some recent posts.
Some blogs I read have a "Wordless Wednesday" post each week. I guess, being the rebel that I am, this is my "Wordfull Wednesday"...in any case, happy Wednesday!
Monday, October 19, 2009
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 14.5 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts drained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.
Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.
Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chopped chives. Toss together to combine.
Serve this with a green salad and some hot, buttered French bread and your mouth will be thanking you. Enjoy!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Beth was just on the verge of turning 2. Brenna creeping up on 5. Beth was not a fan of the whole preschool thing when it was Brenna's turn. On Brenna's first day of preschool I was a bit nervous for her, but excited to have that time with just Beth: our first opportunity to have consistent one-on-one time since she'd arrived. We spent some time getting Brenna happily involved and then it was time to leave. Beth pitched a fit that both broke my heart and rattled the walls. She SOBBED and reached out for Brenna, just repeating her name over and over. She cried for a solid half hour after we left. I'm sure it was a mix of missing her sister & friend and tremendous disappointment that we left Brenna in that toy-filled, kid-filled, color-filled, fun-filled place and she went to...the van with mom. I was so glad that first day was done. Two days later when it was time to go again, the sobbing returned. Beth cried for a solid month every time we took Brenna to "school". So there's the background...onto the field trip:
We spent a fun morning at a family farm making kick-the-can ice cream, making giant bubbles, climbing in a tree house, and all sorts of typical farm fun. The great thing about the preschool field trips is that siblings were included! Yeah for Beth, right?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Oh, my. I shouldn't have started this so late. This could be so much fun. I wish you could see all the fun I am having. I'm so excited that I can do this:
And that funny line up there, it's called a jump break. I don't know why I would need a jump break, but believe me I will find a way to use it and make it fun!
(So the funny line that I see doesn't show when I post. I have no idea what it's for...)
Okay...onto the picture weekend fun:
Friday night was the high school Football game. Homecoming game: very fun. Other than a very scary injury...it was a great night.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Candy Corn Kiss Chocolate Cookies
1 pkg. chocolate fudge cake mix
1/2 cup butter-flavor shortening (you can use butter, but the cookies will be a lot thinner)
Hershey's Candy Corn Kisses
Mix together cake mix, shortening and eggs. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (use your cookie scoop that I know you have), and roll balls in powdered sugar. Bake at 375 for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place a kiss in the center of each cookie. Immediately remove from sheet onto cooling rack. These take awhile to cool, as the kiss will get all melty and then re-set.
This is one of my favorite cookie recipes for Christmas, only I use a mini York peppermint patty. So yummy. You can use any kind of cake mix/candy combination that you like!
There you go, Alex. The recipe is memorialized here!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It can partly be summed up in a very simple word. Cholesterol. Not a bit surprising to me at all, my cholesterol is creepin up too high. "It's not bad," he said. "It's just not good." Those are fighting words to me! I don't like to be "not bad, just not good" at anything. Especially something inside me. Especially with this pesky family history lurking in the back - okay, front - of my mind. So we started the long and tedious conversation about cholesterol. What a tiring topic. I told him I know the right things to do in my mind, I just need to apply them. And I will. Try. I will try. But that wasn't enough for him.
"Tell me what you could do better with your diet." Oh, please. Do we really have time to get into all that?? I'm needing to eat more veggies. Yes, I know. I don't eat much red meat, so not a whole lot to eliminate there. But then I got brave and divulged my love for all things baked, specifically chocolate chip cookies. With real butter, of course. "Okay," he says, "so tell me about how many cookies per day we are talking about." WHAT?! Then he grinned and rubbed his forehead in an exasperated fatherly sort of way, and said, "I think that is the first time I have ever asked a patient that question. That question usually has something to do with one's alcohol use, not cookie use." I assured him I was not a daily chocolate-chip-cookie consumer. In my dreams.
I then had to listen to my doctor give me advice about improving my baking. He wanted to brainstorm with me ways I could still do what I love and make it not quite so offensive to my cholesterol. I appreciate the effort, doc, really I do. But just be my doctor. I'll let Paula Deen continue to be my recipe source.
This comes on the heel of 3 different people informing me that the price of chocolate chips is expecting to take a jump this winter because of some shortage of something vital to production of chocolate. Details, details.
So, I'm feeling a bit ganged up on in my little chocolate chip cookie world. In fact, I think my keyboard and fingers are in on it, too. I just tried to type "chocolate chip" and out came "chocolate hip". Coincidence? Typing skills? Chocolate chip conspiracy??
I then went on to be told that no, that swelling in my knee is not something that will likely just go away. He told me to not run for 3-4 weeks. Excuse me? This is getting my anxiety level up. First a discussion about baked goods and then telling me I shouldn't run.
Lastly, thanks to some family history provided by my brother, I am scheduled for a test I otherwise would be able to put off for 10 more years. Lovely. In this case, I guess 40 is the new 50. Or maybe 80, as I've just written an entire post complaining about a visit to the doctor.
I did not run today. Tomorrow? We'll see. I did not eat chocolate chip cookies today. Yet. Tomorrow? Again, we'll see. Maybe an upcoming Monday Menu will feature some kind of cholesterol-lowered chocolate chip cookie. I shudder at the thought, but...we'll see!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Here is a yummy, yummy cake recipe that smells like Fall, tastes like Fall, and makes you all happy inside that there IS a Fall! This recipe comes from my Costco Connection magazine, of all things...and I'm so glad it caught my eye. It is a perfect piece of something to have with a hot mug of something. Make sure you eat the cake warm...it really adds to the yumminess! Enjoy:
Caramel-Glazed Apple Cake
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. (I used 3 Granny Smith and 2 Fuji)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 TBSP butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Butter and flour a 9x13 pan.
To prepare cake, beat both sugars and oil together until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla and blend. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg; add gradually to egg mixture, mixing just until blended. Add apples and nuts, and stir until well-combined. This is a thick batter! Scoop into pan and spread evenly.
Bake at 325 for 50-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took about 65 minutes. Let cool in the pan while you prepare the glaze:
To prepare the glaze, melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add sugars and salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add cream, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Poke holes all over the cake, using a toothpick or skewer. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake. Let it set for at least 10 minutes to let the caramel soak into the holes. Serve warm.